Lee Wilkinson


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Define usefulness? How do we define the validity of anything?

I have now had four post's removed by TED for being of little use to the community. It has got me thinking, what then are the parameters of usefulness? What lakes anything of use to another human being and who are we to judge whether or not that is true?

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    May 24 2011: Use . . . to put something into action or service for some purpose . . . usefulness must mean 'full of purpose'. Therefore each post must serve a purpose. Purpose . . . . the reason for which something exists. So, posts must have a reason to exist. Perhaps it is important to include in your post the reason for its existence.

    Anyway, I like your question. As it pertains to 'value', there are deep fissures among societies and within cultures. It's scarey to me how deep the divide in our country. We need lots of discussion on values, and I think as you're asking, how it pertains to usefulness?
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    May 28 2011: I believe that for something to be "useful" it must add value to something else.
    It is useful to be trained as an electrician before attempting to work on replacing your breaker panel.
    It is useful in a conversation here on TED or elsewhere to have a coherent point of view and to stay close to the topic or debate. Adding value to the talk means sometimes to bring it back into focus or to lead it into new direction in exploring an idea. It is not only our opinion that matters it is the manner in which it adds value to the whole conversation.

    I have been in many conversations here where others have pointed to links that have done nothing to enhance the debate but only seem to muddle it instead. But every time within the conversation someone will respond to the new link or point of view. So usefulness is found by someone within every comment, but when one is charged with moderating a debate different rules apply and like the electrician there are specific courses of action that must be followed, perhaps that is why some posts are removed. My only issue with that is there have been other conversations where it has been very difficult to find any relevance to the topic and yet all posts remain intact, much inconsistency in that regard.
  • May 27 2011: I also think it's based on values- what you value, you will call useful because it helps you reach the things that you want, and essentially, that's the goal of anyone's existence.

    In response to the last question, I think as humans we all value something- and to judge what that is is not impossible or impractical. Consequently, anyone can and probably does (if inadvertently sometimes) judge what other people value, and hence call useful.
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    May 24 2011: That question is much more easy if you think it in such ways !
    There are no absolutely right definition to the word, usefulness!Everyone is selfish to some degree!
    We human beings or our communities just think the process easily! When something may do good to our own benefits, we just say"OK, it is useful!"
    Maybe it is just our nature!
    Take it easy!